How to Avoid Being One of the 10% Who Have Chronic Kidney Disease
There are two big things you need to consider about kidney disease when it is chronic, and the first one is that it is not reversible. It just progresses until dialysis and a transplant is needed to stay alive. The second is that kidney disease can be quite advanced before any symptoms even show up. Here is how you can help avoid joining the ranks of those who are suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) that progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
A microalbumin urine test is simple and non-invasive, and it can reveal the presence of kidney disease even when there are zero symptoms present. It looks for your kidneys spilling albumin, a protein, into your urine. If you have symptoms, such as unexplained itchiness, foamy urine, or fatigue, or if you have high blood pressure, you should get tested. Since microalbumin urine testing is so simple and does not require any needles or blood, everyone should have it done at least annually. A blood test that checks your creatinine and BUN (blood, urea, nitrogen) should also be part of a yearly medical exam.
Back Off the Protein Intake
Dr. Joseph Mercola states that people eat about “three to five times more protein than they need for optimal health.” He also mentions demineralization of bones and stress on your kidneys caused by too much dietary protein. Athletes typically need more protein than someone who is sedentary, but the maximum uptake of protein per meal is about 30 grams. Also, do not think you need to get all your protein from animal flesh, dairy or eggs. Vegan fitness coach Robert dos Remedios is over 6′ tall and tops the scale at 260 pounds, and he gets all his protein from plant sources.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Down
If you have a risk factor for CKD, your doctor may want you to keep your blood pressure even a bit lower than the standard normal of 120/80. You definitely do not want it going higher. Higher pressure in your blood vessels further stresses your kidneys. If you already have additional risk factors for kidney disease such as diabetes or relatives with CKD or ESRD, you want to really keep an eye on your blood pressure. Even though you may never have a single symptom of high blood pressure, be sure to take hypertension medications as prescribed by your doctor for long-term protection. If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe an ACE inhibitor to help protect your kidneys.
Know Other Risks of Chronic Kidney Disease
Losing kidney function and aging can wreak havoc on your bones. You need vitamin D, calcium and magnesium to be properly utilized by your body to keep your bones strong. Kidney disease and aging have an effect on how your body manages these minerals. Other risks, such as alcohol use, lack of exercise and a poor diet also can rob your bones of calcium, leading to osteoporosis. A growing epidemic of vitamin D deficiency also inhibits calcium absorption. Your kidneys control minerals in your blood stream, and they can greatly affect calcium absorption, leading to severe bone loss called renal osteodystrophy. Those with CKD may have low or high levels of calcium that may change over time. Professionals usually advise taking a calcium supplement, like that from AlgaeCal, when blood levels of calcium become too low in CKD patients.
Kidney disease can sneak up on you and begin to cause problems before you begin to notice any symptoms. Blood tests and urinalysis are the gold standard of checking kidney function. Eat right by balancing carbs, fats and proteins, exercise, keep your blood pressure and weight down, and get tested to detect any kidney problems early.
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